Supporting churches to include people with Autism and Learning Disabilties

  
This post is going to be a diary of a week I spent with Prospects at their outreach sessions at the Keswick Convention 2015. Keswick Convention is a churches/Bible conference over 3 weeks in the pretty Cumbrian town and has been going for 140 years. Prospects have been running sessions for adults with learning disabilities in week 2 for over ten years and, as with all these kinds of things, relies on volunteers to staff and deliver the sessions and support the guests who come along.

Our Good News Group has been visiting the Prospects celebrations in Keswick for a few years, coming up for the day and staying for a picnic in the lovely Fitz Park, before zipping back down the M6 and home. 

This is the first year I have been able to have the time off work to be a volunteer for the whole week. (It’s great to be my own boss and let myself take the time off!) 

Why do people volunteer for these things? Why give up a week of your own time to ‘work’ with others, have the pressure of delivering the sessions and all the planning and organisation that goes into it all? 

I’m going to write about my own experience and some of my fellow volunteers in this blog to give you an insight.  For myself, it is a chance to get a break, a change of scenery and maybe even some time with God to let him speak and minister to me, as well as an opportunity to serve and meet new people with the same passion as me in wanting to see people with disabilities be included in our churches.  I’d like to learn something, think deeply about something and come home with my faith having been challenged to grow. 

Over the next few days I’ll blog about the experience and maybe plant at bought in your mind that you could get involved in something like this too. Prospects do Spring Harvest, New Word Alive and other conferences, so maybe there’s one near you? 

Just to explain…I think I volunteered as a helper and was accepted as an co-leader with the lovely Andrew Mackie. So I’m doing quite a lot (apparently) but my first blessing is that Andrew has done almost all the pre-planning and preparation. Bless you Andrew. 

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